Every Functional Family has a history of one or more family members who really work hard either to make or to keep a family functional. The easiest way is to let the family just slip into dysfunctional patterns by doing nothing and believe the family will be functional by itself. To keep a family functional asks for constant attention and work towards the goal – being a Functional Family.
Elements of fostering your family to be Functional:
- Accentuate the distinctiveness of every family member. Make it a priority to let every member know he/she is special for the specific characteristics he/she has. 1 Corinthians 12:14–17 speaks of the uniqueness of every body part, so is every person in your family unique and let that person know he or she is special and has a special function in the family.
- Look for and encourage a balance between individuality and togetherness in the family. Every person in the family needs some time to do and be on his/her own at times. The balance is also to be together as a family for certain times and do things together. It is healthy to balance these two parts of being family.
- Be consistent in the messages you communicate. Children get confused when a parent’s messages are not consistent. This might create character flaws later in the child’s life. Examples of these kind of mixed messages may be: If the same parent pray with the child and tomorrow swear at the child, it confuses. When a parent has huge emotional swings from being kind to heavy anger rages, the child get mixed messages and starts to be confused. “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:10–13)